An Audacious Solution to the Missional Crisis

There’s a crisis in the missional church conversatio–and Mike Breen has a solution.

You may remember the simple and effective diagram from your science textbook with three panels: the first showing a dry sponge, the second showing a sopping wet sponge, and the third showing water spilling off a saturated sponge. Once the sponge is saturated, there’s no use trying to absorb more water; it will all be spilled onto the floor and wasted.

The missional church faces a crisis of information saturation. Much of the missional conversation has centered on ideas – brilliant ideas, ideas rooted deeply in theology and the sending nature of God – good ideas shared over coffee, blogs, and breakout sessions – but primarily ideas.

It’s been a conversation – an exchange of words and thoughts – a cerebral and theological exercise that allows for something akin to Bonhoeffer’s cheap grace; as long as you can talk the missional talk, the shape and structure of your church and your leadership doesn’t actually have to change.

In his latest book, Multiplying Missional Leaders, Mike Breen effectively calls out out the crisis by offering an audacious solution: audacious because he’s addressing a crisis not widely acknowledged (because we like all the new books, blogs, and conferences!) and because he’s presenting a model – a step-by-step solution – in a conversation that has often shirked models and step-by-step solutions. But possibly the most audacious part of Breen’s solution is its simplicity.

To sum it up in one word, the solution is discipleship.

Breen’s writing, speaking, leading, coaching–and the work of the organization he leads (3DM)–boils down to discipleship, and Multiplying Missional Leaders continues in this trajectory. The book’s focus is on missional leaders, and more specifically forming leaders through discipleship because, as Breen would say, all leadership issues are discipleship issues.

Mike has the unique gift of recognizing and appreciating the breadth of the missional conversation. He’s not knocking the books, the conferences, or the churches – he’s not rejecting the information. Rather, he’s gathering together what others are saying and offering a clear invitation to a very practical and strategic way forward. And he does this without downplaying other voices or disregarding the unique contextual environments in which discipleship takes shape.

In Multiplying Missional Leaders, Breen outlines some very practical leadership tools rooted in discipleship. He lays out a “leadership pipeline” process for training and deploying leaders. He outlines how the five-fold ministry giftings play out in a context of discipleship and mission. He talks about the essential role of relationships and “family” in the leadership environment, and speaks to the tension between structured and organic models of church communities and leadership. Throughout, Breen navigates corporate principles of leadership with the spiritual reality of the call of Christian leaders.

As I’ve interacted with Breen’s writing and work with 3DM over the past few years, I’ve appreciated the stability of it all. His message and solution have remained steady, embodied in 3DM’s slogan “keep calm and disciple on.” Multiplying Missional Leaders is a great resource for those longing to bridge the gap between leadership, formation, mission, and discipleship. It is practical and strategic, designed not just to convey information but help you lead others towards a leadership culture deeply ingrained and integrated with transformational discipleship.

Dave Kludt is a pastor/equipper at Kairos Hollwood and works for the Fuller Doctor of Ministry program. When not doing one of these two things, he hangs out with his wife in East Hollywood reading books, laughing with friends, biking around the neighborhood, and eating ethnic food.

Dave Kludt (30 Posts)

Dave Kludt is a bivocational pastor working with Kairos Los Angeles in East Hollywood and Fuller DMin in Pasadena. He likes reading, riding bikes, and really good food.

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7 Responses to An Audacious Solution to the Missional Crisis

  1. This sure sounds nice…“To sum it up in one word, the solution is discipleship.”BUT – Can’t seem to find “Disciplship” in my antiquated KJV.Don’t know if you ever checked, makes an interesting study.“Disciples” is only written about by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Isaiah once.“Disciples” is only found in the four Gospels and Acts. Paul, with all the instruction he gives for the ekklesia, never mentions disciples, making disciples, or discipleship training.None of the epistles mention disciples, making disciples, or discipleship training.. Hmmm?And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:them also I must bring, and they shall “hear MY voice;”and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.John 10:16One Fold – One Shepherd – One Voice.{{{{{{  Jesus  ))))))

    • /dave says:

      Thanks for the comment and engagement.

      I’d disagree that Paul never mentions discipleship. Or that discipleship isn’t a factor in the later New Testament. I’m not reading an “antiquated KJV” (to quote your phrase), but it seems like the New Testament is overflowing with discipling language.

      1 Corinthians 11:1 – *Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ*

      Galatians 4:19 – I am in the pains of childbirth until *Christ is formed in you*

      Ephesians 4:17-5:20 – (Follow God’s example…walk in the way of love*

      Philippians 2:1-11 – *Make my joy complete by being like minded*

      Philippians 3:10 – *I want to know Christ*

      Philippians 3:17 – *Join together in following my examples…just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do*

      This is by no means exhaustive, just a quick scan through some of Paul’s letters.Discipleship is imitation, following, knowing Christ, and allowing Christ to be formed in you – and I see that all over the New Testament, don’t you?

  2. dave

    Appreciate the response and “your” definition of “Discipleship.”
    “Discipleship is imitation, following, knowing Christ, and allowing Christ to be formed in you”
    But – The word “Discipleship” is NOT found in the Bible.
    In Mk 7:13, Jesus warns us – “Traditions of men” nullify His Word.
    ASV – Making “void” the word of God by your tradition…
    NIV – Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition…
    So how do “I” understand, or know, what that “Discipleship”
    means, or how to “Do” it –  from the Bible’s point of view?
    Seems all I have to go by is a “mere fallible humans” tradition.
    And “I” have NO way of checking – or being a Berean…
    The reason I’m questioning the traditional idea about “Discipleship” is – I was checking the scriptures and noticed that the word “Disciple (s)” is only found in the 4 Gospels and Acts. 
    I was aking – Have you ever noticed that?
    And what “you” make of it?
    I’ll give you “Why” I was checking the scriptures 
    for “Disciple” in the next comment.

  3. dave
    Most believers today will admit that “the current religious system” is broken. And the solution is “Discipleship.” Yes? Many believers are leaveing the denominations and the 501 (c) 3, non-profit, tax $ deductible, Religious $ Corporations, most today call church. Yes?
    When Jesus told “His Disciples,” go and “Make Disciples,” He also told them how. It was by  – **teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.**
    Mat 28:19:20 NKJV
    Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – **teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you**
    When I was “Making Disciples” and “Training Disciples” as I was taught – I realized I was only “making disciples of Amos.” And what Amos believed. :-(  Or, “making disciples of my denomination” and what my denomination believed.  – Or, whatever the movement I now belonged to believed.
    I wasn’t “Making Disciples of Jesus.” Oy Vey!!! :-(
    So, I went back to the scriptures to see what, and how, Jesus taught “His Disciples.” ;-)
    Makes an interesting study. In my experience…
    Seems *a lot* of what Jesus taught “His Disciples” is NOT being taught today. And, that could be a reason why so many are leaving and so few are joining.
    When I check the scriptures along with Strongs and Thayers for a definition of “Disciple” I come away with something different than what I was taught. Different than “Traditions of Men.”
    Disciple” is Strongs #3101 mathetes -Lerner, pupil.
    KJV – disciple 268, vr disciple 1; 269
    Thayers – 1) a learner, pupil, disciple

    If “Disciple” means learner and pupil; (NO mention of follower)
    Isn’t a “Disciple” of Christ a “lerner and pupil” of Christ?
    Someone who learns directly from Jesus? NO middle man?
    Didn’t Jesus, 2000 yrs ago, teach “His disciples” directly?
    Isn’t  – Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever?
    Heb 13:8.
    So – I now see being a “Disciple” is more than being a follower,
    or imitator, of Jesus. 
    A “Disciple” ”Hears His Voice” and can learn directly from Jesus.

  4. […] 2012 By Steve Knight Leave a CommentDave Kludt, a pastor/equipper at Kairos Hollwood, writing at The Burner Blog last week suggested,“The missional church faces a crisis of information saturation. Much of […]

  5. […] before about information saturation in the “missional church” – the idea that “as long as you can talk the missional talk, the shape and structure of […]

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